This may be the greatest relationship hack you'll ever read.
Here's a hint: THE SMALL THINGS MATTER. To preface this, I recently re-read the classic, "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” by John Gray. It’s definitely a bit of a retro read but it struck me that even after 30 years when it was first published it still remains relevant. The book makes the very compelling argument that men and women are vastly different creatures, and with that knowledge we should squash the expectation that we should all get along seamlessly and understand each other intuitively. That thinking in itself can be detrimental to how we create relationship ideals.
Without getting too deep into the communication disparities between the genders let me bring attention to something a lot smaller than got my attention.
One of my favourite takeaways from this re-read was a list of “101 Small things”. John Gray highlights the fact that women feel loved and emotionally connected through the culmination of lots of “little things”. Men often show love through big things; they provide, they make money, they buy the family car or house. Whilst this is obviously impressive and shows commitment it doesn’t necessarily resonate emotionally for women, which can create a disconnect and eventual resentment in a relationship. This discontent goes both ways; women feel misunderstood and men feeling unappreciated. When I read the list of 101 Small Things I realised, not only were they small e.g picking up towels after a shower, putting your hand on the small of her back to guide her through a door, but that he was absolutely on correct. I reflected on many of the conversations I’ve had with women in the early stages of dating and the things that actually capture their attention are not big. They often form an opinion about a man, not based on big ding dong dang facts like a share portfolio or investment properties but on the energy they feel through the small actions. They will often highlight things like: he got out of the car to wait for me and opened the door, he asked if I was warm enough or he remembered that I drink decaf.
So, if you’re wondering what matters in relationships take the time to consider that the small things really do matter and do those things more.